Wednesday, April 8, 2009

5 Reasons Chicago Should Not Have the Olympics

The IOC just finished their whirlwind tour of Chicago.

The red carpet was rolled out for them, they were wined and dined, and they were Oprah-fied. By most accounts, this last weekend could be defined as a top-notch sales job.

I mean, Oprah! She's not even really a Chicagoan, and yet...

Ok, the list of 5, as promised.

1. First and foremost, Chicago is broke. The potholes on the city streets are as rampant as ragweed during a typical Chicago spring. Construction projects have been halted (Spire, anyone? Love the hole.) Even the Chicago Police (lack of backbone notwithstanding) held a demonstration on Day 1 of the IOC visit to demand better wages.

If cops are demonstrating, it MUST be serious.

Or French. Paris, after all, lost the 2012 bid to the Brits mainly because of strikes, protests, and demonstrations during that IOC visit a few years back.

2. Traffic is a daily issue in this city. It's pretty bad, at best, and more often than not, it's horrible. The Kennedy and Eisenhower expressways are too small for a metro area of 9 million people (3 lanes in each direction on both these highways? Poor urban planning, and hardly accommodating). Lake Shore Drive has the eternal logjam from the Michigan Ave. exit on the north side, all the way down to Soldier Field, home to the NFL's Chicago Bears. Primarily, the games will be south of the football spacecraft (which by the way, is too small for the opening and closing ceremonies), as will the Olympic Village. So how will people get that far south? And if the bulk of attendees for the games are from places other than Chicago (they will be, you know?), how will they travel to the south side. CTA? Doubtful. Maybe our bike-happy dictator, I mean Mayor Daley, will buy thousands of 2-wheelers for our guests. He can pay for them with parking meter money, perhaps. Oh, wait...

I guess we'll be having red-light cameras at just about EVERY intersection now (last year's revenue from the cameras was a staggering $44 million, and currently there are only a few hundred of them in Chicago)

3. I'm pretty sure that public support is far lower than the mayor or the IOC would like to acknowledge. Personally, I have yet to talk to one single person who supports having the Olympic teat in Chicago. Not one (well, OK, there was 1, but he doesn't count and shall remain unidentified). Now, there are a few businesses that have the "We Back the Bid" signs in their windows, but they are all major corporations/political donors. Places like Walgreens and BP.

Drugs and fuel.

Hmmmm. I suppose I can stop right there.

4. Chicago is broke. Oh, wait...

5. How can we actually trust the people in charge? You, know, the mayor and all of his cronies and hacks. Corruption is rampant. Not only within city government, but at the state and county level as well (like you didn't know that). Make no mistake. The State of Illinois, as well as C(r)ook County, has a vested interest in securing the games. Those involved in these upper levels of government want the money, I mean games, just as much as Richie and the boys.

These so called leaders lack the foresight for what is really needed. Soldier Field, as I said, is too small for the Olympics. So that means that we'll have to build a stadium (did I mention Chicago's broke?) As most Chicagoans will no doubt remember, it took FOREVER to reach an agreement to, ultimately, have Soldier Field refurbished. There was squabbling within the City Council as to whether or not the stadium would be re-done or if a new one would be built. But where would it be built? More importantly, who gets the contracts? Back and forth, back and forth.

It took YEARS.

Really, Chicago should have built a domed stadium on the lakefront. But that opportunity was blown. Did the mayor not have Olympic dreams those short few years ago? A state-of-the-art dome would have been large enough to accommodate the Olympics. Plus it would give Chicago things that Soldier Field, still, cannot EVER accommodate. Things like the NCAA Final Four (which was held, this year, in Ford Field in Detroit, home of the NFL's Lions), or, gasp, the Super Bowl.

Now THAT, would generate some serious revenue. More than just once, too.

The lack of foresight on this one is just plain stupid and selfish. They were smug and full of hubris and self-interest.

Do we really want "those guys" running THIS particular show?

Of course, we elected them, so us regular folk must share some of the blame.

So it goes...

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